Some of you may remember my postings on Facebook nearly a year ago about the new and very noisy neighbors upstairs. We lived in this apartment for six years with no problem with the family upstairs. A few months after George died, that family left and the cacophonous family with enormous horse feet moved in above us. For a few months, I joked about this on FB. Then, working with the manager of the complex, I thought the problem was solved. I even took them cupcakes to thank the two boys (ages seven and nine, probably) for being so cooperative. I even signed a lease for another year because I’d thought the problem was sloved and I’ve always heard, “Don’t make a big decision like moving within a year of the death of a husband.”
The noise started again exactly two days after the lease took effects: a kickball game with the two sons and their very large cousin. I complained, the parents told the manager they paid rent and could do whatever they wanted in their apartment. Other tenants told me they referred to me as “the ** * * * downstairs.”
I didn’t believe I could leave. The cost of breaking the lease and moving was more than I could afford. Also, my health wasn’t good enough for me to consider moving. Moving is my least, least, least favorite thing in the world other than people who put nuts in fudge.
In May, the management moved the family to another apartment. Peace, blessed peace, reigned for three weeks. Then another family moved in with a sweet little girl and an eleven-year-old boy who has springs on his feet, a living, constantly in motion pogo stick. This time, I addressed the problem immediately. On the second evening of continuous thud, bang, thump, I pounded on the ceiling with a broom–a signal the preceding family ignored. Within seconds, I heard a knock on the door. It was the father, a young, tall and muscular young man.
First, he lied to me, said they were all watching a movie when I pounded on the ceiling. Yes, I pound on the ceiling because I’m attempting to build my upper-body strength. Then the husband attempted to intimidate me. He leaned over me, obviously much stronger and healthier than I. He said he liked his kids to be rowdy and didn’t care about me. Then he said, “If you think there’s a lot of noise now . . . ” He stopped and glared at me. I took that as a threat that I’d better shut up or he’d join in the running and jumping.
I was hysterical, a little crazy. Went into my apartment and shook. Then, I experienced enlightenment. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Those people upstairs were never going to be quiet. Never. They wouldn’t change but I could.
The next day I started looking for a place in an independent living center. My criteria were 1) pet friendly 2) swimming pool 3) affordable.
The next week, I found one. I’ll be going from a three-bedroom apartment (or, as our friend Ron always said, “A one-bedroom, two-study apartment”) to a one bedroom with heated pool and accepting of the cats. The Salvation Army is going to haul of some furniture off in August and friends are coming to help sort and pack and carry to Goodwill or the dumpster. I move in early September. Yes, it will cost. I’ve blogged on the fact that I’m very, very cheap and paying to break the lease is painful. However, I decided my mental/physical health and my ability to write come first. It’s difficult to be creative when there’s a kid overhead wearing cement blocks on his feet and doing jumping jacks.
One of the best parts: the apartment is only three minutes from church.
That’s what I’ve been doing for two weeks: making changes and writing novels. I’m happy and optimistic.
Any experiences you’d like to share about your neighbors? I hope they are all good.